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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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UNDP, GEF and World Bank Agree to Offset Environmental Impact On Johannesburg During Summit

New York, 16 August — In an effort to make the World Summit on Sustainable Development more sustainable itself, the United Nations Development Programme, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank have announced that they would offset the environmental impact caused by the travel by their delegations.

The three international organizations will pay to 'neutralize' the amount of carbon dioxide based on the emissions released by travel to and from the summit as part of the Johannesburg Climate Legacy initiative. All funds generated by this initiative, which is part of the wider "Greening of the WSSD" programme, will be channeled to a Trust Fund set up through the Development Bank of South Africa.

South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Valli Moosa said, "It is ironic that the very staging of conferences related to sustainability actually has a negative impact on the environment through the carbon emissions from energy use and delegate travel. The Johannesburg Climate Legacy 2002 will change the blueprint and leave a legacy of learning and investment."

As a result, Valli Moosa invited governments to their delegations to the Summit "carbon neutral by "offset" to make through the implementation of carbon-reducing, sustainable development projects across South Africa including the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy technology. He said these interventions will be implemented in all economic environments, including domestic, commercial, industrial, education and health sectors.

Two government delegations, Norway and the United Kingdom, have announced that they would go to Johannesburg "carbon neutral."

"The Johannesburg Climate Legacy Initiative provides an excellent opportunity for UNDP to set an example in taking practical steps towards addressing climate change issues while providing tangible benefits to local communities," said UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown.

The Chairman of the GEF Mohamed T. El-Ashry welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the initiative. "The GEF credo, he said, is to protect the global environment through partnerships between actors at the local level and those at the global level. One excellent way of promoting this credo is to ensure that the carbon footprint of each member of the GEF delegation at WSSD is offset in a manner beneficial to the people of South Africa through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in that country."

It is estimated that carbon emissions generated as a result of the WSSD will total 289,619 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The aim of the Climate Legacy is to raise US$5 million by September 2002 in order to mitigate the effects of the carbon emissions of the Summit. Businesses are invited to purchase Climate Legacy Certificates representing values from $1,000 to $100,000 while individuals can take part by buying $10 certificates online at www.climatelegacy.org.

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24 August 2006